PITTSBURGH - Mario Lemieux, Savior of hockey in Pittsburgh , departed for heaven late yesterday, hours after He put the final touches on a deal for a brand new arena that will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for at least thirty years.

Details of His Ascension were provided by the Apostle known as John, the Beloved. John, whose last name is Steigerwald, has been a leading evangelist for hockey in Pittsburgh for nearly a quarter of a century. He has spent most of that time preaching far and wide, to believers and non-believers alike, about the good works of Mario.

“Did you hear the Good News?” he asked earlier this morning. “Thanks to the no-good politicians and do-nothing civic leaders, hockey was dead, but now it is risen! Thanks be to Mario!”

The story of Mario’s Ascension will be recounted in the Gospel according to John, which will be published in next month’s edition of Hockey Digest. As every hockey fan knows, Hockey Digest is the Hockey Bible. Here is an excerpt:

"They therefore who had come together to celebrate the new arena deal began to ask him, 'Lord, wilt thou at this time bring us the Stanley Cup?' But He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the time or dates which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Anything can happen in the playoffs.' And when He had said this, He was lifted up before their eyes, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing up to heaven, behold, two men in white garments stood by them and said to them, 'Men of Pittsburgh, why do you stand looking up to Heaven? This Mario who has been taken up from you shall come back in the same way as you have seen him going into Heaven.'"

Speculation is rampant among hockey scholars who have studied this text that John believes Mario is planning on coming out of retirement. He has promised to deal with this subject in his forthcoming Book of Revelations.